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What to see in Namibia

Population of the Himba & Herero

The ethnic group of the Herero is spread across the countries of Angola, Botswana and the northern regions of Namibia, Damaraland and Kaokoveld, constituting 10 percent of the population, and accounting for some 200,000 people.

They live on cattle and modest agriculture. The Herero dress like the Himba, but the missionaries convinced the women to adopt their current appearance, which evolved from the costumes of the German missionaries of the Victorian era, with colourful and lucid prints and a curious hat that was designed to pay homage to the shape of the head of the cow. The men with hats and a cane show off the elegance they copied from their colonisers.

Between Namibia and Angola, there are the Epupa Falls, the territory of the ethnic group Himba in the region of Kunene. They are semi-nomadic and live on cattle.

The homes of these tribes are made of mud, manure and branches. Men are usually out of town on grazing land with sheep and goats and Himba women only bathe on their wedding day, but during the day spend much of their time smearing themselves an aromatic ointment of ocher, butter and herbs that stain rust-coloured to protect themselves from the sun and groom themselves. They wear a cowhide skirt and big necklaces and bracelets and braids up to the shoulders. They are the ones who milk the cows, build the houses and take care of the children. The children are circumcised at 11 years of age and their four lower incisors are extracted in honour of their venerated cows.

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